Kim Clijsters played her final match last week, defeating Venus Williams in an exhibition to wrap up a remarkable career that saw her reach No. 1 in the world, win four Grand Slam titles and 41 tournaments.
Here's a quick look back at the Top 10 wins of Clijsters career in chronological order.
1) Luxembourg final, 1999, def. Dominique Monami, 6-2, 6-2: Clijsters was ranked just 83rd entering the tournament, and was in the qualifying bracket. She exploded through the ranks, losing just one set the entire tournament, whipped No. Monami in the final to win her first career title and jump to No. 54 in the word.
2) Indian Wells semifinal, 2001, def. Martina HIngis, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1: Clijsters was ranked just 56th, but took out two Top 50 players in the first three rounds, needing three sets for each. In the semifinals, she squared off against Hingis, ranked No. 1 at the time, and beat her in three before losing the final to Serena Williams. Clijstesr was in the Top 15 two weeks later, and finished the year ranked No. 5.
3) Tour Championships final, 2002, def. Serena Williams 7-5, 6-3: Clijsters entered the field ranked sixth, but never lost a set in four matches, whipping Belgian rival Justine Henin in the quarterfinals and Venus Williams in the semifinals before knocking off little sister.
4) US Open semifinals, 2005, def. Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-3. Sharapova had taken the world by storm a year previous at WImbledon and was the top seed at Flushing Meadows. Clijsters had rallied from an 0-1 deficit to eliminate Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, then shook off the brutal second-set tie-breaker loss to unseat the world's No. 2 player and reach the final
5) US Open Final, 2005, def. Mary Pierce, 6-3, 6-1: By the time she got to Flushing Meadows in 2005, Clijsters had been ranked No. 1 and was perennially thought of as one of the best in the game, but that first Grand Slam title had continued to elude her. Pierce, largely thought as a clay court specialist, was the underdog here, and Clijsters treated her so with a thorough thrashing.
6) Cincinnati first round, 2009, def. Marion Bartoli, 6-4, 6-3: Eight hundred and twenty-eight days had passed since Clijsters' last match, more than enough time for her to get married and start a family. She returned to the tour and was immediately cast against Bartoli, ranked 13th in the world, only to show she stil had her old form with the convincing victory.
7) US Open final, 2009, def. Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3: It was supposed to be Wozniacki's coronation. The gorgeous young Dane had risen to the top 8, but nobody saw Clijsters coming until she had wiped out both Williams sisters, becoming the first mother to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong in 1980. The images of Clijsters celebrating on court with her adorable daughter are as indelible as any single moment in Open Era history.
8) US Open final, 2010, def. Vera Zvonareva, 6-2, 6-1. Proving her comeback had legs, Clijsters won three tournaments in 2010 and was ranked third in the world by the time the US Open began anew in 2010. She never had to beat a player ranked higher than her, but survived three-set wars with Samantha Stosur and Venus Williams before crushing Zvonareva in the final to defend her title.
9) Tour Championships final, 2010, def. Caroline Wozniacki, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. Wozniacki was the medida darling, having played solid, consistent tennis to take over the No. 1 ranking ahead of the injured Serena Williams. but Clijsters, nearly 10 years her senior, showed just how much experince mattered in a three-set victory to once again raise the year-end trophy.
10) Australian Open final, 2011, def. Na Li, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Amazingly, Clijsters has massive popularity on three continents - her native Europe, North America, site of her three US Open crowns, and Australia, where she was briefly adopted by the locals during her romance with Lleyton Hewitt. "Aussie Kim" gave something back to the Aussies with her fourth Grand Slam title, briefly retaking the No. 1 spot in the world in the process.
Posted: 12/22/2012 2:40:29 PM